The Coffee Spot, 900 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, a community coffee shop and art gallery is closing its doors forever in December.
Owner Eric Tate explained, “It’s sad for me to close The Coffee Spot. It’s at a point where it’s breaking even, which in the restaurant world is difficult to do. We wanted to open a coffee shop for locals to hang out in. The crew at the coffee spot has done an amazing job of keeping that place alive. I decided to sell it a few years ago. When COVID happened, I supported my staff. At this point, we’re in the clear and I need to let the shop go for personal and financial reasons.”
Tempo reached out for comment to a couple of loyal Coffee Spot customers, Taos poet Carol Terry, and Taos News production manager Paul Gutches.
We also talked to Ren Geertsen and Greg Preisch, the “mom and pop” of the Coffee Spot, partners in business and life. Here are the highlights.
Taos poet Carol Terry said, “We all share similar stories of finding Taos. We come here stranded with the need to create a community, one to count on, where you feel safe and held. That is the Coffee Spot. It is a place that grows on you. I am so grateful for so many mornings of good coffee and food. They were a shelter in the storm for those without a permanent home. Everyone is sad, not only because of the effort of Ren and Greg but also their humor, generosity and compassion. They are the mom and pop of the Spot, they provided a service to the community. It’s a relationship I’m at a loss for how to continue it. They are both very dear to me and I love them.”
Taos News production manager and a Coffee Spot regular Paul Gutches wrote “Ren and Greg poured their heart and soul into it over the years, changing the look of the place, covering the walls with their art and the art of their friends. They hung cartoon portraits of all their repeat customers and designed custom funky art tables. At one point they were hosting free after-hours community art sessions, the results of which were displayed against a latilla fence outside the shop.”
Independent coffee shops like The Coffee Spot take on the characteristics of the community they serve, and in a quirky art colony like Taos, the Spot is at the cultural crossroads of a transient, transplant population from every corner of the globe.
In the dead of winter there are folks from Tres Piedras and beyond who pile into a single vehicle or hop the blue bus into town, stopping at the local gym for a hot shower then a beeline for the Coffee Spot for a steamy mug of coffee, free wi-fi and the best burrito in town.
Snowboarders and skiers on the way up or down the mountain, are at the door on weekends at 7 am for a slice of Greg’s peanut butter pie, a riff on his Ohio mother Marla Preisch’s Buckeye recipe.
And you can always find a writer, poet, artist or musician holed up in the back room hunkered down over a notebook or computer in a rickety makeshift booth. There is a free library of tattered paperbacks, an old-fashioned gumball machine filled with jelly beans, tables handmade by Ren, and art covering every surface of the place.
The Coffee Spot is the place to experience old-school Taos. No frills, no bougie vibe. Ren and Greg know your name, your dog’s name, what you did over the weekend, how you like your coffee and how you feel about the state of the world.
If you left something behind, The Coffee Spot is the one place in town you had a decent chance of recovering it. They run a tight ship, inspired by mountain karma, and genuine love and compassion for their fellow Taoseños.
Ren and Greg said they are looking forward to time off from the grueling pace of keeping the Spot open with mixed emotions. The Coffee Spot was a labor of love, and they will miss the community, who have become their family, and the gallery they built to share and sell their art.
Right now their work can be seen in a window exhibit titled Ren and Greg Drowning in Plastic as part of the Paseo Annex Window Series thru October at 107 Civic Plaza Drive. Greg said, “We both felt a responsibility to reduce disposable plastic products at work too. Plastic straws were the first thing we stopped ordering, then plastic cold cups and lids, then to-go plastic ware. There are lots of alternative products out there. It doesn’t take much to change habits. It’s just a routine we are used to, and at first you have to think about it, but we found the challenge kind of fun.”